Whitby Town councillors have approved a raft of budget cuts in order to avoid a 46 per cent council tax increase.
At a meeting last week, councillors approved around a dozen proposals which they hope will cut costs and bring in some additional income.
Councillors said the move will see the annual precept of council tax increase by 14.83 per cent (8.18 per cent for band D equivalent properties).
Councillors agreed to the following:
- Increasing the fee for using public toilets from 40p to 50p
- Removing a £12,000 fund to help with new devolved services from North Yorkshire Council
- Ending a £10,000 provision for security patrols of the Gallery and Museum in Pannett Park
- Maintaining a £20,000 provision for possible audit fees
- Slashing £3,000 from a budget for town polls
- Cutting the mayor’s allowance by £400 to £1,600
- Cancelling a £2,000 a year HR support contract
- Shelving a £2,500 redesign of the authority’s website.
Financial predictions indicate that Whitby Town Council will see a considerably reduced income in addition to major increases in its expenditure.
However, a report presented at the meeting stated that the increased fee for using public toilets was set to raise £25,000.
Cllr Asa Jones said: “Raising the amount we charge for using the toilets is the only method this council has of transferring some of the financial burden for next year’s budget away from local residents and onto tourists.”
Councillors also voted to keep the £20,000 allocated for auditor’s fees which comes amid “a multitude of objections” which are believed to originate from a single elector.
According to a council report, most of the objections have already been rejected.
Cllr Jones said: “The fact is that as councillors we have no ability to prevent objections like this and are effectively forced to commit to spending £20,000 regardless of how much this increases people’s tax bills.”
Whilst the Christmas festival was also reduced in scale by £3,500, councillors decided not to scrap it entirely.
The council’s projected annual costs following the cutbacks still stand at more than £500,000 with a projected income of around £190,000 leaving more than £300,000 to be funded through council tax.